Now that I've gotten the first week out of the way, I'm thinking about my fears. With this being a Pediatric floor, the one thing that I was afraid to deal with was being around a terminal child. In my world, death belongs to the elderly AND infirm; not those who've barely gotten the chance to live. I was unsure of how I'd handle the dying child because I have a tough time with death. We're not on good terms.
My first day, there was a child who had been recently diagnosed with ALL
but he looked relatively healthy so I wasn't that bothered. Sad but not
really bothered. But my third day, I came face to face with a young boy with
Neuroblastoma on his adrenal gland that had metastasized to his liver, brain,
and bones. I'll call him P.S. The sight of him broke my heart. He was bald, he
was pale as a sheet, and he was three. His parents only had him and his older
brother. I remember thinking that this was so unfair.
He was admitted for chemotherapy that Monday because he had to begin a
regimen of prehydration and labwork first. It was explained that chemotherapy
chemicals are highly nephrotoxic and the body needs to be hydrated to ensure
that cytotoxins will be flushed from the body. Because he was a chemo patient, I
mostly got to observe which was okay with me because I was so full of questions.
How long has he had it? How did the parents find it? More importantly, what was
his prognosis? Well...he was Stage IV and his chemo was in still in the research
phase. I'm in tears as I write this because his outlook is pretty poor but his
disposition was amazing. He laughed with me and showed me his Spider-Man
pajamas. Spider Man was his hero and all the Nurses knew it. He wanted to make
sure that I knew it, too. Early on, I'd noticed that he was highly intelligent after having been through so much and charming. He could charm the scales off a snake. Of course, I wanted to cry but as always, I'm careful
to save the tears for my car where nobody's looking. Brenda, my Preceptor,
explained the how's and whys of his labs and orders. For some reason, I thought
that all this would be confusing but not so. I hung on to every word.
When I came in on Wednesday, I was under a Nurse named Candace and my
little chemo patient was hers that day. The first thing that I saw when I
reached the unit was a little Ninja come up to me and give me some karate chops.
Sure enough, it was P.S. His parents were clever; he wouldn't wear a mask but he would wear a costume so that day, he let Spider-Man rest. A Ninja it was. It was kind of funny because, although, he'd had chemo the day before, he was in
wonderful spirits. He was on his way to the playroom at 6:45 in the morning and felt like playing. Mom, realizing that his every moment is precious, gave in. She was so tired but like me, she was not one to spoil a kid's fun. Of
course, I acted like I didn't know who he was and there was a Ninja attacking
me. He laughed and I swear it sounded like Heaven. His mom looked tired but grateful
that her boy was in good hands.
was in that moment, I forgot the bad and only remembered the good. There's
nothing to really be afraid of because this is life. It happens. To everybody. The only thing
that we need to do is remember: To everything, there is a silver lining if only we
look for it. Oh...and one more thing: try to make the best out of every moment. They are not guaranteed.